|Game 11: Tigers at #14 New Hampshire
|Date/Time||Saturday, November 20, 2010 | 12 p.m.|
|Location||Durham, N.H. | Cowell Stadium (6,500)
|Tickets||Click Here | 603-862-4000 x5|
|Radio||FOX 1370 Sports Radio|
|Talent||Spiro Morekas (PXP), Tom Judd (Color)|
|Game Notes||Towson | New Hampshire
TOWSON, Md. - Closing out their 2010 schedule, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Tigers will be cast in the role of spoilers when they travel to the University of New Hampshire to face the 14th-ranked Wildcats in a Colonial Athletic Association game on Saturday, November 20 at Cowell Stadium.
While the Tigers will try to close out their season on a winning note, the stakes are much higher for the Wildcats. UNH needs a win to earn a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. The Wildcats have a 5-6 record in NCAA FCS appearances.
The Towson-New Hampshire game will be broadcast back to the Towson area on FOX-1370 AM Sports Radio with Spiro Morekas and Tom Judd calling the action.
New Hampshire, which has won four of its last five games, is coming off an impressive 31-24 victory over #9 Villanova, the defending national champion.
The Tigers are coming off a disappointing 28-18 loss to Maine, a game in which two turnovers were the difference. Although the Tigers had more total yardage than the Black Bears (304-248), that advantage was negated by two interception returns for 117 yards and two touchdowns. An 82-yard interception return in the third quarter set up a two-yard touchdown run that gave Maine a 13-7 lead while Trevor Coston's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown put Maine ahead, 26-10.
"Turnovers keep killing us," said Coach Ambrose. "They have cost us several chances to win this season. We keep working on them and we will get them fixed."
In ten games this season, the Tigers have turned the ball over 19 times. But, it seems the Tigers' turnovers are always very costly. Towson's 19 turnovers have led to 85 points scored by its opponents. Towson is last in the CAA with a minus-11 turnover ratio.
Ambrose knows that this week's game at UNH will be another tough test for the Tigers. When the Tigers visit UNH, they will be playing their sixth game against a team that is ranked in the NCAA FCS Top 25.
"Looking at New Hampshire on film, I can tell that they have some of the best players in the CAA at their positions," says Coach Ambrose. "I am not sure how they've lost any games. Coach (Sean) McDonnell has his program rolling. Whenever they have players graduate, it seems like they have someone all set to take their place. That's how you go to the playoffs six years in a row."
Ambrose added, "We'll go up there and just play the game six seconds at a time and see how we do."
Although the Tigers are last in the CAA in scoring defense, Coach Ambrose has seen tremendous growth on the defensive side of the ball.
"We've seen a lot of confidence and growth on the defense this season," he says. "Every week, it seems like they are put in a bad position and stop the other team. Last week against Maine, they did a great job getting the ball back for the offense in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of those opportunities."
Sophomore safety Jordan Dangerfield leads the Tiger defense. Dangerfield, who leads all CAA defensive backs with 9.0 tackles per game, is tied for eighth in the CAA with 90 tackles in 10 games. The Tigers' top tackler, Dangerfield is tied for the team lead with five pass breakups. He has also forced two fumbles.
Led by sophomore defensive end Frank Beltre and senior defensive tackle Yaky Ibia, the Tigers' defensive line has been a bright spot all season. Beltre, a second-year starter, matched his career high with 13 tackles against Maine. He also made three tackles for lost yardage against the Black Bears.
With 77 tackles in ten games, Beltre is second among CAA defensive linemen in tackles per game (7.7). He is also fourth in the CAA with 12 tackles for lost yardage.
A pre-season All-CAA selection, Ibia is third among CAA defensive linemen with 50 tackles in ten games. He is also second in the CAA with 13.5 tackles for lost yardage.
Junior defensive tackle Marcus Valentine had a terrific game against Maine. He had two quarterback sacks and recovered a fumble. It was his second fumble recovery of the season. With 37 tackles in ten games, he is ninth among CAA defensive linemen in tackles.
Senior linebacker Donte Blakey has also had a solid season. The Tigers' second-leading tackler, he ranks 13th in the CAA with 85 tackles in ten games. He has also made nine tackles for lost yardage and has two fumble recoveries.
Last season, the Tigers suffered their worst loss of the season against New Hampshire. UNH jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 57-7 win.
"I know we are making progress," says Coach Ambrose. "Last year, we were getting destroyed in most of our CAA games. The UNH game was a prime example. We were getting manhandled physically. This year, we're not winning the fight - but we are in the fight. We're in the fight with a chance to win."
In their seven CAA losses last season, the Tigers' average margin of defeat was 32.9 points. Their closest loss was a 27-7 defeat at Northeastern. In their seven CAA losses this year, the average margin of defeat has been 20.4 points.
Including Blakey and Ibia, Saturday's game will be the collegiate finale for 12 senior Tiger football players. Quarterbacks Bart Blanchard and Jeremy Jayne, tight end Jalan Dudley, cornerback Jeremy Gardner, tight end Ryan Hanley, wide receiver Hakeem Moore, offensive guard Chris Ritter, defensive back Chris Sheahin, place kicker Nick Wallace, and safety Ray White will be playing in their last college football games.
When the Tigers visit New Hampshire, they will be seeking their first-ever win against the Wildcats. Towson and UNH have played six times since 1980 and the Wildcats are 6-0 against the Tigers.
TIGER TALES: While the Tigers have turned the ball over 19 times in ten games, it is a marked improvement from last season when Towson had 34 turnovers, including 27 interceptions.
Moore enters the final game of the season as the CAA leader in all-purpose yardage by a slight margin ... He is averaging 129.5 all-purpose yards per game, slightly ahead of Jonathan Grimes of William & Mary (128.3) and Andrew Pierce of Delaware (122.1) ... He is also seventh in the CAA with a 21.6 average on 37 kickoff returns ... Moore has already broken the school record with 37 kickoff returns in a season ... In his career, Moore has returned 90 kickoffs for 1,987 yards and a 22.1 average ... In 32 career games, he has 3,366 all-purpose yards, an average of 105.2 yards per game ... He currently ranks seventh on Towson's list of career leaders in all-purpose yardage ... Moore is also the 17th-leading receiver in school history with 103 receptions for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns.
If the Tigers can win on Saturday, they will avoid tying the school record for most losses in a season ... The 1991 Tigers set that mark when they posted a 1-10 record with a very young team ... Two years later, the Tigers went 8-2 and were ranked 24th in NCAA Division I-AA.